The Krakow Event: Tour to Auschwitz/Birkenau

The Krakow Event - before and after
Mirek
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The Krakow Event: Tour to Auschwitz/Birkenau

Postby Mirek » Thu Sep 10, 2009 1:06 pm

Carmen wrote:And I must see the Auschwitz memorial, too.
There will be a trip to the Auschwitz Holocaust Museum. Everyone must be aware that this place is special and the visit there usually is a shock for most of the people.
My very private suggestion is: it's much better to go there as a part of a group. It's much easier to cope with emotions.

Therefore I would like to start a discussion about the proper time of such a visit. Should we orgnize such a trip before the Event, after the Event or maybe as a part of it.

What is your opinion? Let's discuss it here.


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jarkko
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Re: Krakow Event Registration

Postby jarkko » Thu Sep 10, 2009 4:43 pm

Eija and I went to Auschwitz with Dick and Linda before the Berlin Event in 2004 from Krakow. We think that everyone should see the area with their own eyes.
At least half a day should be reserved. May I suggest that the organizers offer this tour both before and after the Event days. The number of our participants
will be pretty high (300), and it will be better to have at least two tours.
(Also another tour to the Wielicka salt mine would be a great idea).
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Re: Krakow Event Registration

Postby ladydi » Thu Sep 10, 2009 4:56 pm

Hi Mirek,

Jarkko has an excellent idea for there to be 2 tours offered because of the number of people involved. I only know that I MUST see Auschwitz. I am not Jewish but I also have many Jewish friends and the Holocaust has been part of my life ever since I first became aware of it from some black and white 16mm film documentary shown in my school when I was 15. I've been twice to Dachau, several times to Mauthausen, and twice to Ebensee. My friend and I had once planned a trip to Poland primarily to visit the camps and memorials..this was after having viewed Shoah; however, family illness prevented the trip.

Thank you for all of your arrangements! I'm sure many of us are looking forward to next August with great anticipation!

All the best,
Diana
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Re: Krakow Event Registration

Postby Carmen » Thu Sep 10, 2009 5:09 pm

Jarkko's idea about having two tours is good; if too many of us arrive there at the same time, part of the deep significance might be lost, because of the crowd.

Indeed, Diana, many of us have Jewish friends and it is out of respect for them and for their terrible past that I also feel it's a moral duty to go to Auschwitz.

I wonder, however, if it is a good idea to place the first tour choice before the event: we may never be the same again. On Saturday morning, maybe? When we are already filled with the Cohen spirit, enough to keep us above water?

But I'll stick to any decision made by the organizing committee.
Mirek
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Re: Krakow Event Registration

Postby Mirek » Thu Sep 10, 2009 9:36 pm

In my opinion two tours proposal is really the best. Additionally, we have to book our visit in advance if we want to have a guided tour (I recommend that strongly). There are thousands of people visiting Auschwitz in the summer, so we have to be sure that we get everything we need.

As for Wieliczka Salt Mine - this is really a lovely place. Defenitely a must to see. But remember to take some warm clothes, as the temperature there is rather low.

Wieliczka Salt Mine Web Page

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kaz
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Re: Krakow Event Registration

Postby kaz » Fri Sep 11, 2009 12:07 am

Mirek wrote: As for Wieliczka Salt Mine - this is really a lovely place. Defenitely a must to see. But remember to take some warm clothes, as the temperature there is rather low.

Wieliczka Salt Mine Web Page

Mirek
Mirek, don`t scare our guests away ;-) . The temperature below the ground is very nice and constant
all through the year , around 14 degrees centigrade /57 F/.

Kaz,
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Laura
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Re: Krakow Event Registration

Postby Laura » Fri Sep 11, 2009 12:12 am

kaz wrote:
Mirek wrote:
Mirek, don`t scare our guests away ;-) . The temperature below the ground is very nice and constant
all through the year , around 14 degrees centigrade /57 F/.

Kaz,

That's a "nice" temperature by your standards?!!! Ok, then I feel forced to ask what's a "nice" temperature for you above ground, too? (especially in the month of august)

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Re: Krakow Event Registration

Postby lizzytysh » Fri Sep 11, 2009 4:46 am

It's approximately or maybe exactly twice as much for the full-day tour of Auschwitz-Birkenau... I believe the two together may be considered the 'same' tour. You really do not want to see one without seeing the other. It is, indeed, sobering. When I go this time, there are several of us who are planning to go for the full-day tour.

When I went before [prior to the Berlin Event], I did the half-day, and was always having to run to catch up. We were advised to be sure to stick with our group, so no one would miss the bus back to Cracow [I had all I could do to run into the bookshop just before the bus left ~ they don't have 'gifts,' but dvds and books... as it ought to be ~ to grab two copies of a single book "Hope Is the Last to Die," that fortunately was available at the counter near the check-out register]. I wanted to read every sign and posted explanation and look at every photo, at the same time that I wanted to hear every word the guide was saying... and it seemed I could never get every sign completely read before having to catch up with the group, so as not to miss anything the guide said [his great uncle had also been there], as he had so much information that wasn't in the signage.

When I expressed my frustration at the conclusion, the guide suggested that next time I take the full-day tour, which I will absolutely be doing. Two groups at a minimum is the wisest choice. My suggestion is that it be at the end of the Event or right after it's over.


~ Lizzy
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Carmen
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Re: Krakow Event Registration

Postby Carmen » Fri Sep 11, 2009 1:36 pm

Dear Lizzy,
You are quite right in every way.
On one hand, taking the tour in the midst of the Cohen event would be a mistake both ways - so, since it's August and people are generally on holidays, we can add an extra day to our stay and take the full-tour, to see both Auschwitz and Birkenau.

On the other hand, I understand that you already have a group of friends who decided to do it - so please count me in, too!

One other question for the organizers: do you have any suggestions for accommodation? I presume quite a few of us have never been to Krakow before. Also, hotels are a good choice - but they are so impersonal! Can it be arranged, for those who may choose such a variant , to stay with locals (for a sum of money, of course)? The Brits usually do it, I have experienced it several times and it is a wonderful way of learning more about the city and its people. Just an idea...
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Re: Krakow Event Registration

Postby Mirek » Fri Sep 11, 2009 8:34 pm

Carmen wrote:One other question for the organizers: do you have any suggestions for accommodation? I presume quite a few of us have never been to Krakow before. Also, hotels are a good choice - but they are so impersonal! Can it be arranged, for those who may choose such a variant , to stay with locals (for a sum of money, of course)? The Brits usually do it, I have experienced it several times and it is a wonderful way of learning more about the city and its people. Just an idea...
Your idea is interesting - we have to discuss it here. But there are several factors you have to take into account. It wouldn't be easy to find such an accomodation close to the venue. Therefore people will have to use trams/buses and that might be not very convenient. What's more, there are usually unofficial evening sessions going on - drinking beer, chatting and singing (just like those happening at Stresseman Caffe in Berlin). In such a case it's much easier to have a convenient accomodation close to the place.

But of course we will discuss your suggestion.

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Re: Krakow Event Registration

Postby Mirek » Fri Sep 11, 2009 8:36 pm

Laura wrote:
kaz wrote:
Mirek wrote:
Mirek, don`t scare our guests away ;-) . The temperature below the ground is very nice and constant
all through the year , around 14 degrees centigrade /57 F/.

Kaz,

That's a "nice" temperature by your standards?!!! Ok, then I feel forced to ask what's a "nice" temperature for you above ground, too? (especially in the month of august)

Laura
Dear Laura - no need to buy expensive furs (except for the Wieliczka tour). The temperature in August seems to be close rather to 25-30 C than to 15 C. I hope that's enough, right? ;)

Mirek
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Re: Krakow Event Registration

Postby Carmen » Fri Sep 11, 2009 9:42 pm

Yes, Mirek, you have a point there. No need to be a problem to our potential hosts, while coming home "at the break of day".

Today is 9/11 and I would like to tell all our American friends that our heart goes with them and the dear ones they have lost eight years ago. Terrible moment in recent history...
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Re: Krakow Event Registration

Postby goldstei » Fri Sep 11, 2009 10:00 pm

Hi Mirek,

Unless I missed it, I didn't see a response to my earlier query (somewhat repeated by a recent post-er) as to whether the organizers will try to arrange a discounted rate with one or two recommended hotels in Cracow (close enough to walk to things, please).

I certainly agree that it would be a great mistake for those coming not to go to Auschwitz. Having been there twice (although not to Birkenau, which is close, but still quite a hike from Auschwitz if you are walking and/or short of time--Auschwitz by itself certainly requires at least several hours), I'm not sure I agree that this is something necessarily to be done in a group. Visiting there is a profoundly unsettling and disturbing experience, but it goes to the mind, heart and soul in a manner that I think is so personal that going with a group could, at least for some, diffuse or dilute the experience. Of course, everyone is different and I can only speak for myself.
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Re: Krakow Event Registration

Postby lizzytysh » Fri Sep 11, 2009 10:20 pm

Hi Carmen and Goldstein ~

Yes, of course, you are very welcome to come along. Actually, I'm hoping that we might be able to womannap our dear historian, Womanfromaroom, and her dear friend [and ours], Greg, for our day-long trip there. It will probably cost more than a discount rate that our considerate organizers might be able to get for us, but for me, I feel as goldstein does, that it's actually better to go with a much smaller group. If you're going to that region, at all, I feel it's important that people go there.

When I went [alone], except for being in the tour-bus group, where I met some people on the bus, I preferred my aloneness. In fact, I was alone in staying behind to read everything and then trying to run to catch up, so as not to miss anything the guide said. It was frustrating for me when, after the tour ended, I asked for a photo with our tour guide and the woman who took the photo cheerily kept telling him to smile. I finally said, "He doesn't need to smile," and wondered how she wasn't 'getting it' that he had just taken us through a very extensive and serious tour of mass, human tragedy and likely did not feel like smiling and should not be expected to 'smile' for a photo with a tourist, however interested they [in this case, I] might be in these camps.

Goldstein ~ When I went, the 'tour' bus took us from Auschwitz to Birkenau. I'm not sure how it would work on a full-day trip, but I'm sure it could be arranged somehow... somehow. Also, I'm certain that there will be hotels offered to us at a discount rate. At the other Events, that is how it's been, generally with our having a choice of three, graduated-scale, price levels.


~ Lizzy
"Be yourself. Everyone else is already taken."
~ Oscar Wilde
Mirek
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Re: Krakow Event Registration

Postby Mirek » Sat Sep 12, 2009 1:12 am

goldstei wrote:Hi Mirek,

Unless I missed it, I didn't see a response to my earlier query (somewhat repeated by a recent post-er) as to whether the organizers will try to arrange a discounted rate with one or two recommended hotels in Cracow (close enough to walk to things, please).
Sorry for not responding sooner - I was on holidays for some time. Of course there will be a set of hotels located near the venue and the rooms will be offered at discount price for the registered participants of The Event. The details will be published later this year, I guess, as the bunch of lonesome heroes in Cracow is still arranging that, trying to get the best discounts possible.


Mirek

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